Art Therapy for Everyone
Artists do what they do because it's satisfying to make something original. This concept of creating for the sake of satisfaction and personal enjoyment is the foundation of Art Therapy.
It may be surprising to learn that art is being used as medical treatment today. It may be even more surprising to learn that it is very effective and beneficial.
Clinical Art Therapy
Art therapy is a clinical practice used for many physical and mental health cases. These cases vary from depression to cancer symptom control.
A friend of mine graduated some years ago with a degree in Art Therapy from Wayne State University. She works as an art therapist and an art teacher in Michigan. When I asked about her experience providing art therapy, she described to me one session when the client was drawing a house. The house was drawn without a door. Noticing this, the art therapist asked about the client's experience with trusting new people. This specific example may help with picturing what a session of art therapy may ensue. The purpose of art in therapy is to guide the session as well as help uncover thoughts and feelings.
Research has found art therapy to be an incredibly effective treatment.
Art Therapy for Everyone
It is amazing how drawing, painting, and all other types of art-making strengthen mental health. Although the use of art in a health care setting is impressive, the benefits of art in everyday life should not be overlooked.
Because of art therapy's clinical benefits, it could be assumed that art is a preventative practice when it comes to health care. Whether you are doing simple macaroni crafts, or sculpting marble, any artistic hobby will not only satisfy your creativity but could possibly prevent mental health decline.
You may be thinking: but I'm not really an artsy person. I personally think that art is something anyone can practice and improve upon as long as you have the drive to do so. Like other skills, "good" art-making is not innate.
Painting, etching, drawing, embroidering, sculpting, and other activities are not the only ways to experience art. Art therapy can be practiced without art making.
In my opinion, art is more than paint on a canvas, or ink on paper. Art is anything beautiful, and can be found anywhere.
Appreciating art is the most common form of art therapy. From admiring art in a museum to noticing graffiti on the sidewalk, art is experienced everywhere. Smearing a canvas with color may be enthralling and therapeutic for many artists. Not only is an art form like painting therapeutic to execute, it is therapeutic to look at and admire. Trying to find meaning within the textures of a painting has no rules. Interpreting art is a huge part of experiencing art. Enjoying art is a huge part of art therapy.
© 2020 Jenn Kesler